EULOGY FOR SR VIVIAN BRAND R.I.P.
Sr Vivian Brand was born on 26th July 1916 at 88 Bourke Street, Leederville, to parents Joseph Usherwood Brand (An Englishman) and Louise (Nee Stack from Dongara).
Her baptismal name was Mary Bernadette.
Vivian entered religious life at Subiaco on 24th May 1939.
Her First Profession was on 11th February 1942 and she took her Final Vows on 11th February 1945.
Her companion was Sr Columbiere Connolly from Claremorris, Co Mayo who died on 6th February 1993.
Areas of ministry included her favourite location at St Charles Seminary, Guildford. She graced the hospital scenes of Subiaco, Kalgoorlie, Rivervale, Ballarat and gave us Sisters and other people her valuable time and expertise at the holiday house at Mornington. Her ministry was mainly in catering in many forms of food production, presentation, supervision and menu monitoring. She was fleet of foot at work, attentive to detail and particular about special dietary requirements. All duties and presentations had a smiling component.
SNIPPETS FROM HER JOURNEY
I was privileged to live with Vivian in community on many occasions and had the special privilege of being with her as she calmly took her last breath. As I ponder on the journey with Vivian through various stages of life, precious memories bathe my mind and flood my soul. She was a great example of serenity, simplicity of life, consistency and a wholesome attitude in all situations; a peace loving person who loved friendships and fun. Her outward expressions reflected an inward in-depth contemplative discernment. I am unaware of her verbal expressions of prayer; she was devoid of any semblance of pious platitudes or recommendations as to how others prayed or lived out their particular journey towards and with God.
Always unobtrusive, her foot was never in the doorway when others were called to varying expressions of spirituality. She was quietly and consistently supportive, accepting others differences yet faithfully a companion on the way! Her own values and ethical standards were well informed, immersed in her internalization of the Gospel message of love. Mostly, she held her own counsel with great dignity and respect, giving prominence of place to other peoples contributions, yet she was very astute in her observation of people and events. In fact she was unique in this sphere. Her great depth of being was the gem that gave balance between her introvert and extrovert expressions. Forever ladylike, we were so familiar with her deportment: a vision of elegance and poise.
She balanced graciously on those high heels and bearing a clutch purse under her arm she was ready to head anywhere!. With hands forward in gestures of graciousness and accompanied by a glint in the eyes, we were clued-up to the fact that a spicy story was about to be delivered with bated breath. She had a great affinity for the theme of friendship as in John 15:14 – ‘You are my friends’. She was open to friendships from and with all people, cultivating, forming and nurturing special bonds in varying and unexpected ways and places. She remained youthful and fun loving whilst being fully emotionally mature. She had the ability to uplift the spirit, to be amused and to celebrate at every opportunity. In times of turmoil she remained calm and composed. Apart from her love of finery and outings she had a great love and appreciation of her own family, her community and special places like the Swan River and the Grampian Mountains. She took delight in being addressed as Lady Brand, was at her best as a team member and in deflecting unimportant agenda to no-man’s-land. Viv loved a day at the races with a win, had her eye on equine hopefuls, appreciated the opinion of top jockeys, trainers and informed clergymen of which there were a few around the Mornington turf.
We hold many precious images of Vivian at Ballarat. Forming a trio on Saturdays with Canice and Cecily a hurried atmosphere was obvious after mass before take-off for a few hours. Cecily took the responsibility, the common purse and the wheel and I think the saying ‘a good time was had by all’ marked these occasions. Her duo was with Consuela who was willing, able and ready to implement the then so called ‘outer space activities’ namely bingo, the Spring Carnival and the yearly fete.
Vivian’s particular pronunciation of the great word ‘YES’ was to us a very familiar ‘Yeah-es’ with a nod of the head and she continually said yes to God, her community and God’s creation in its many forms. I thank God and Vivian for the diversity, wholesomeness and fullness of life brought to our congregation by her.
On Saturday morning when I visited Vivian I recalled the scenes at Ballarat and wondered if, being Saturday, she was going out for the day with those companions; I felt they were looking out for her, confident also that she relied on them, knowing that they would be nearby to welcome her. I now imagine her saying ‘There is a great view from up here’.
May you Vivian and all who walked with you rest happily with joy, peace and friendship in the hospitality of the Eternal Kingdom.
Delivered by Sr Elizabeth Bones